The Buck Stops Here

The phrase “the buck stops here” was made famous by President Harry Truman. It essentially means that you won’t pass the buck to anyone, but will be responsible for making the decisions.

I happen to believe that “the buck stops here” is one of the keys to improving your financial life.

Here’s what I mean:

When you “pass the buck”, you’re leaving the decisions up to someone else. You’re passive. Maybe you don’t feel like it’s your responsibility or problem, so you’re waiting for someone else to fix it. Or maybe you don’t feel like you can have an impact, even though you might like to, so you feel like you’re at the mercy of someone else.

But when you decide that “the buck stops here”, something changes inside of you.

You see the world differently, and then you begin to act differently. Taking responsibility for your situation even (and maybe especially) if it wasn’t entirely of your making can be empowering.

To clarify, taking responsibility doesn’t mean beating yourself up or saying “woe is me, it’s all my fault” and sinking into a pit of despair. It means taking responsibility for doing everything you can to change and improve your situation.

Sometimes that looks like admitting to yourself that (for example) while it’s not your fault that a close relative died, it IS your fault that you decided to charge the plane ticket for the funeral when you didn’t have the money. Maybe that was a good decision and maybe it wasn’t, but either way it was your decision. There were alternatives (sending a card, asking someone to video the funeral, selling stuff to come up with the money, etc) but you choose to charge that ticket instead.

Once you accept responsibility, you’re on the path to change. You have the power in your life.

And that means you can decide to do things differently.